When I found out I was pre-diabetic last year, I went on a strict low-calorie diet. I lost 46 pounds, but my blood-sugar levels have actually risen. What caused this?

 I suspect you may have lost a great deal of lean muscle mass along with your extra pounds. The problem is that very low-calorie diets (especially ones that are deficient in protein) can trigger a muscle-wasting response in which the body uses muscle as fuel. That means you have fewer muscle cells to take in excess blood sugar and burn it for quick energy, a factor that can deplete  your body’s ability to regulate blood sugar by up to 80 percent.

The good news: Increasing your protein intake will help rebuild your muscle mass and lower your blood sugar. I suggest eating at least three 4-oz servings of lean protein from eggs, poultry or beef per day. Or sip two whey smoothies instead. In my clinical experience, I’ve found that this strategy can lower blood sugar by as much as 10 percent in two weeks. Another boon: Protein curbs appetite and boosts metabolism by 25 percent for two hours after you consume it, so you should lose weight even faster.

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